Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common vision problem that often begins between the ages of 6 and 14. It affects an estimated 5% of preschoolers, about 9% of school aged children and 30% of adolescents.
Children are more likely to develop myopia if their parents are nearsighted. However, myopia is on the rise overall, especially in kids. No one is exactly sure why, but experts believe it could be related to more time doing closeup tasks indoors like usingcomputers and playing video games.
Eye development & vision
Myopia happens when your child’s eyeball is too long from front to back. It can also develop when the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye, is curved too steeply. When light enters your child’s eye, the rays fall just short of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This makes distant objects blurry and close objects clear.
In hyperopia, or farsightedness, distant objects are clearer than near objects. It takes more work to focus on everything, but especially on close-up objects. Children’s eyes haven’t totally developed yet, so some farsightedness is normal in childhood. Most kids don’t experience blurry vision though because their eyes automatically focus. As they grow, children usually become less farsighted and may become nearsighted instead.
Myopia generally gets worse through adolescence, then starts to stabilize in the early twenties.
Myopia symptoms in children
Symptoms of myopia include:
- Complaints of blurry vision (like not being able to see the board in school)
- Squinting to try to see better
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Frequent headaches